Thomas J. J. Altizer is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. His many books include The Call to Radical Theology (edited by Lissa McCullough); Living the Death of God: A Theological Memoir; Godhead and the Nothing; The Contemporary Jesus; and History as Apocalypse, all published by SUNY Press.
The Contemporary Jesus is the first critical study integrating contemporary understanding of Jesus with the most powerful, imaginative visions of Jesus in our history. The book imaginatively engages many views of Jesus: an apocalyptic Jesus, gnostic Jesus, Buddhist Jesus, Pauline Jesus, Crossan's Jesus, and the Catholic, Protestant, and nihilistic views found in writers such as Dante, Joyce, Milton, Blake, Dostoyevsky, and Nietzsche. Altizer also examines the Jesus who emerges from the Jesus Seminar.
Seldom, if ever, has there been such an intense public and critical engagement with Jesus, as our New Testament scholarship is wholly isolated from both our imaginative and our conceptual traditions, and likewise isolated from all genuine theological or even religious understanding. The Contemporary Jesus bridges that chasm, this alone making the book unique, but the book is also an embodiment of a contemporary radical theology which is Christian and universal at once. It intends a critical recovery of the original Jesus that can be integrated with our deeper history, a history which is finally a universal history, but a universal history that is wholly opaque to our given and established theological understanding.